LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK, N.J. (Oct. 15, 2020) – PSEG Nuclear’s Salem Unit 1 entered its planned refueling and maintenance outage on Oct. 3, 2020, when operators safely removed the unit from the regional power grid. Salem 1 is one of three nuclear units operated by PSEG in Salem County, New Jersey. Collectively, the three nuclear units produce roughly 40% of the state’s electricity and more than 90% of its carbon-free energy, making them a critical pillar of New Jersey’s clean energy ambitions to achieve net-zero by 2050. A refueling and maintenance outage is a multi-week, comprehensive process involving thousands of inspections, surveillances and maintenance activities.

At PSEG, the health and safety of our employees, contractors and communities are paramount. Accordingly, PSEG is continuing many of the protocols and precautions instituted during the Salem 2 outage earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as increased cleaning and sanitization protocols, remote work to minimize the number of on-site employees, physical distancing where possible, and a health questionnaire and temperature screening for every individual entering the site.

In addition, new initiatives have been implemented to bolster health and safety, which include:

  • Extra trailers to enable better social and physical distancing among the hundreds of contactors workers brought on-site.
  • New personal protective equipment (PPE), including fog-resistant safety glasses and high-efficiency face masks for personnel who work in close quarters and cannot practice physical distancing.

“Over the past several months, our fleet has gathered valuable lessons learned in operating safely during this unprecedented pandemic,” PSEG Nuclear President and Chief Nuclear Officer Eric Carr said. “Specifically, our successful spring outage earlier this year has given us a blueprint for protecting our team members and the community while efficiently completing the necessary work of refueling our unit for the next 18-month operating cycle.”

Buddy Thoman, President IBEW Local 94 said: “I am proud to represent the hundreds of IBEW men and women who maintain, operate and refuel these plants, which provide around-the-clock clean energy for New Jersey. In addition to the skills they offer, these workers also bring a piece of the Salem community when working at the plants, all while protecting each other and the community when engaged in these essential outages.”

Hundreds of contractors and craftspeople representing approximately 10 trade unions are working alongside the PSEG employees during the period the Salem 1 reactor is offline.

Bill Mullen, NJ Building and Construction Trades Council President said: “Outages bring hundreds of skilled contractors and workers essential to the refueling and maintenance of the plants. NJ Building and Construction Trades Council members are among those who bring the added skilled trade work every six months to ensure New Jersey’s nuclear plants continue to provide needed power to 3.8 million homes in the state.”

Dan Cosner, South Jersey Trades President said: “Our members make plans and circle outage dates months in advance of the refueling; maintenance of the plants provides steady jobs throughout the year and twice a year calls 1,000 contractors to the site – many of them our members. The lead time in outage planning allows the industry and the trades to diligently prepare with enhanced safety and health protocols to ensure the well-being of the workers and surrounding communities supporting the outages.”

While on assignment, these individuals frequent area businesses and rely on local service providers for the duration. The additional workforce has a significant impact on the local economy, particularly during the pandemic.

Charlie Hassler, Salem County Chair of Economic Development/Public Works said: “The benefit to Salem County and the South Jersey region during a refueling outage cannot be understated. This is essential work that needs to be done and is done in the safest, most efficient manner. The influx of jobs that come with the refueling is critical to the ongoing stability and success of the local and regional economy. These plants supply nearly 40 percent of the state’s electricity and it’s important that they operate safely. Further, PSEG Nuclear is always ready to discuss the plants and that is good for the community. They are very good corporate neighbors.”